Top Internet Security Suites: Paying for Protection

The threat of malware has reached to such a proportion that the need of good security software has become unavoidable and more necessary than ever before. The test conducted by us on the several latest all-in-one security suites clearly shows that if a good security suite is adopted for the system, then there is no reason that most malicious viruses, spyware and adware won’t be shutdown or removed.

There was a time when computer viruses were not as developed as today’s virus and hence, it was sufficient enough to just be cautious while surfing the net and there was no any urgent need of having an antivirus protection installed in the system. But the time has changed now with the advent of new generation of viruses that constantly look for a nasty zero day security flaws, which is not protected by any means, to target some of the very popular and highly rated websites with the help of several malicious hidden programs that specifically target the identified flaws in the security. Although it is not necessary, but many a times even the most careful surfer would fall prey to such malicious programs. So, it is no longer a matter of choice only to have security software installed in the systems or not rather it became a necessity, which no one could deny.

But while you have already decided to buy security software, there comes another problem before you – which security suite would really suits you best? To help you in finding a solution for this question, the PC World put on a scanner to the nine top most comprehensive suites in the stringent testing environment. The nine security suites are: BitDefender, McAfee, Webroot, Symantec, Avira, Trend, F-Secure, Panda, and Trend Micro. We made them go through several different steps of testing which examined their every aspect of security features as well as the compatibility of their prices with their other counterparts to find the best one among all of them.

The trophy for this year goes home with the Norton Internet Security 2009. Repeating its previous year’s performance Symantec’s suite once again emerged with flying colors from our test along with the promises of strong performance and an easy to navigate system. It has topped in providing the protection against the samples of different malware by detecting almost 99 percent of the atrocious viruses. It comes with a well designed, easy to use and attractive interface and some really new mesmerizing features for this year like, pulse automatic updates, which has the responsibility to update the system in every five to fifteen minutes with the latest malware detection signatures.

Symantec has introduced a new feature this year with its suite and the feature is called cloud computing that is intended to conduct on the spot online inspection in order to supplement the scans that are occurring completely on the machine itself. Then there is another feature included called Norton Insight that checks a new program against the known database of already checked safe programs and then escaping to scan those safe programs. This feature was included with the purpose of saving a lot of time usually spent in scanning a safe program that has already been scanned somewhere else by other users of Norton suite.

This year almost all of the security suites have given emphasis on the utilization of the Internet for the real time checking of the latest malware threats. For a simple example, F-Secure, Panda and McAfee packages check for the latest malware online, irrespective of their scheduled signature update timings. This new approach towards detecting and recognizing the latest malware threats has improved the detection rates of almost all of the security suites.

Although Norton internet Security is no doubt ahead of all the other security suites on the terms of strong performance, new features and user friendly interface, yet it can’t be recommended for all kinds of users. Backup feature is not supported by Norton, while there are as many as four security suites from out of nine which have included this feature. The detection rate of Norton is really commendable while seen alone, but the Avira’s Premium Security Suite has outperformed the Norton and all other security suites in detecting the most numbers of known as well as unknown malware. When it comes to the price then again Norton could not be said as the best choice, as its three user license comes at a cost of $70 and is the second most costly suite after Kaspersky Internet Security 2009, which costs $80 for the license of three users suite.

So, if you are looking for a security suite that provides an overall best performance then you should certainly go for the Norton Internet Security 2009. But, if you are looking for a specific security suite that meets a certain demand of yours then you might want to have a look on the other security suites too like, BitDefender that is the least expensive of all the other eight suites and it also comes at no. 2 spot in our ranking of the security suites. And, if you are looking for a security suite that provides the best solution on the terms of virus detection then of course you should opt for the Avira’s suite which also incorporates the backup feature. Therefore, before reaching to a conclusion, do read all of our reviews and then only make up your mind to choose a certain security suite for your system.

How We Tested the Suites

In order to test all the nine security suites, PC World again got into collaboration with AV-Test.org, which is a German Organization and it put each of the security suites before its collection of (called zoo) 654,914 different Trojan horses, password stealers, bots, backdoor programs and worms and also before 46,246 adware samples. All of the suites were also allowed to check for online malware after connecting to the Internet.

A special kind of malware, called rootkits, are stealth malware who are adapt at hiding the illegal and malicious software on to your system and the test were conducted on each of the security suites to gauge their efficiency percentage in detecting as well as eliminating these rootkits from the system. All the security suites were also tested by AV-Test for their scanning speed and the ability to remove the malware from the system. Another test for heuristic and behavioral detection was conducted in order to estimate which security suites are able to detect the new and unknown malware, which are not in their database of signature files. Two to four week old signature files were utilized for each of the security suites for their heuristic tests of identifying the unknown malware, while behavior tests were testing the in-built capabilities of the suite to detect malware, only after scanning the system alone.

After the authentication of the malware detection and removal capacities of the security suites by AV-Test, now it was the time for analyzing the usefulness and the level of good interaction of interfaces of the suites with the users. We checked each of the security suites if they are able to easily handle the alert pop-ups and the blocking of the phising sites or they only make it difficult for the users to understand their actions. Then we went through all of the details of settings of the suites to find out if the particular setting is in the right default section or not. We also checked the settings to see if the advanced users would be able to change the settings.

Although, we examined every single aspects of the nine security suites like, support, price, features, design, interface and others, yet most part of the scores were dedicated for the performance and effectiveness of the security suites to detect and remove the malware and for their scanning speeds. This is very obvious, as these suites’ main purpose is to fight against the malware as effectively as they can. At last, we determined the final rankings of all those security suites.

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